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Review: The Spirit of Hitchcock, Distilled Into Dance

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Brandon Collwes in “Tenderizer,” choreographed by Sally Silvers, at Roulette in Brooklyn.

Credit
Paula Court

A good book or festival could now be assembled about the works of art that have been inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock. There are, for example, the opera of “Notorious,” the play “Hitchcock Blonde,” the films “Hitchcock” and “The Girl.”

I’ve also seen some remarkable works of dance theater that are complex reactions to Hitchcock movies: Ian Spink’s “Further and Further Into Night” (1984) and Matthew Bourne’s “Deadly Serious” (1992). Now to that list, I add a third: Sally Silvers’s “Tenderizer,” a world premiere at Roulette.

Ms. Silvers has been choreographing since the 1980s. Some of her work can be dismissed as “quirky” or with whatever patronizing terms are sometimes applied to the work of female artists before it’s consigned to oblivion. Except that I can’t quite forget it. The first work of the Roulette program, “The Big Now,” performed by Ms. Silvers and three dancers no longer in their first youth, is the peculiar, idiosyncratic Silvers I remember from 25 years ago. But the program’s other two offerings, “If You Try” and “Tenderizer,” are — while entirely and wonderfully eccentric — important contributions to dance theater.

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Credit
Paula Court

“If You Try” claims the attention in its very opening image. Its trio of barefoot women — Lindsey Jones, Alicia Ohs, Veraalba Santa — stand with backs to the audience and join hands, behind their shoulders, in a singular, knotlike pattern. The music is a collage (by Bruce Andrews) of pop-rock music; it kindles the energies of these three fabulously unorthodox and assertive dancers. A juicily shaking rubber-knee image stays in memory.

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